Modal verbs (such as can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, and must) combine with verbs in the bare infinitive to express information about the verb such as possibility or necessity.

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“Boys will be boys!” Is 'will be' a future simple of 'be' or a present simple of modal auxiliary 'will'?

In the proverb: Boys will be boys! is 'will be' one verb or two? the future simple of 'be' (one verb)? or the present simple of modal auxiliary 'will' + the bare present infinitive of 'be' ...
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1answer
76 views

“If the robot can learn from a human, it can/could keep track of humans.”

I have the following sentence and I don't know whether "can" or "could" would be a better choice. If the robot can learn from a human, it could keep track of humans. If the robot can learn ...
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4answers
695 views

Why is the same modal auxiliary, 'may/might' used to ask permission and for uncertainty?

"May I go to the bathroom?" and "I asked if I might go to the bathroom." The modal auxiliary 'may/might' is used to ask permission. "He may not have understood your question." and "He might ...
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2answers
380 views

“Can I” vs “May I” [duplicate]

You may have heard the argument "it's not can I go to the bathroom, it's may I." If this is true, then any question such as "can you get me a glass of water?" could have the same argument applied to ...
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1answer
309 views

The Use of the Modal Verb “Would” in a Certain Passage

Please consider the following passage from my English textbook: ...The commander of the troops called on his men to gather together on deck in proper drill order...Meanwhile, the lifeboats had ...
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2answers
195 views

Would it be incorrect to use “could” and “might” in the same sentence?

Would it be incorrect to use “could” and “might” in the same sentence? For example: It could be that Joseph might come this afternoon. Since could and might are both stating a possibility, it ...
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1answer
319 views

Difference between “had + past” and “would have + past”? [closed]

Is there any difference between these two statements? When should each be used? I thought you had slept. I thought you would have slept.
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1answer
954 views

“Once…” in the past tense

I was standing on the spot where the murderer had been, thinking, "Did he hesitate? Once the trigger was pulled for the first time, there would've been no turning back." Can the following ...
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1answer
5k views

What are usages similar to “Need I say more?”?

I recall hearing usages like Need I say more? Need I remind you that ...? instead of Do I need to say more? Do I need to remind you that ...? Indeed, they sound better, at least to ...
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1answer
182 views

Finite verbs / Do vs Be

Which is correct? "You were always looking out for me. You always do." or "You were always looking out for me. You always are."
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1answer
351 views

“Help” as a Non-Modal verb

Please read the following sentence: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is planning his retirement in the next nine months from the software giant he helped build. Would you consider "helped" a ...
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4answers
1k views

Using “can” to express future ability

To refer to future ability we should strictly use will be able to in certain instances, while in other cases it is possible to use either can or will be able to. Why? How can one account for that ...
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1answer
18k views

'There seem' or 'there seems' + usage of the word 'seem'

First, I have a question "How words 'seem' and 'there' are used together?" Which is correct: There seem ... or There seems ... Then, I'm am interested in general constructions with the word ...
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1answer
7k views

“Can not” vs. “cannot” [duplicate]

Is there a difference in meaning and/or connotation between "can not" and "cannot"? I have read and seen both used interchangeably, but I know people who argue for a slight difference in meaning. ...
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2answers
313 views

What tense uses a modal with “be” and a past tense verb

I am trying to determine the tense of a certain verb group. This group uses a modal/auxiliary with "be" and the past tense of the action verb. Examples: He may be finished. She must be ...
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2answers
821 views

Differences between using “Would you” and “Can you” when making requests [duplicate]

Is there a difference between asking a question with "Would you..." and asking the same question with "Can you..."? For example, Would you take the trash out? Can you take the trash out? Both ...
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3answers
6k views

“would I need” or “will I need” What is the correct sentence?

I don't know which sentence is correct for my formal letter? As a foreigner will I need any work permit or personal accident insurance? As a foreigner would I need any work permit or personal ...
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1answer
130 views

I knew we shouldn't trust him

I ran into this sentence in a movie: I knew we shouldn't trust him. But I don't know if it's correct. I'm assuming it is, for the movie is american. But I'm used to seeing something like this ...
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1answer
5k views

Is phrase “will you be needing …” correct?

I'm curious about this phrase Will you be needing [...] ? It seems gramatically correct; I am also fine with "need" used in continuous time. But I'm wondering if it is used in spoken ...
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2answers
153 views

“When he went out he left the radio on so that his parents shall think that he was still in the house”

When he went out he left the radio on so that his parents shall think that he was still in the house. This is a past sentence. Why is shall think used? Can I use should think?
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1answer
375 views

Usage of 'would' in the future tense?

Is there anything wrong in this sentence? "I would go to work tomorrow if the buses were plying." I know it is not wrong to use 'would' in hypothetical sentences in the past and present tense: ...
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3answers
6k views

What are all the words that make up a complete list of linking verbs in English?

What are all the words that make up a complete list of linking verbs in English? My English teacher from what I can remember listed them as follows, am I missing any? is am are was were be been ...
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2answers
56k views

What is the difference between “have to”, “must”, and “should”? [duplicate]

Is there any difference between have to”, “must”, and “should”? If there is some difference between them, when do I have to use (nor not use) each of the constructions below? have to do something ...
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2answers
411 views

Modal verb without auxiliary verb

I'm used to seeing modal verbs followed by auxiliary verbs, like this: I should have been reading. However, I've heard people say things like: I'm glad you did or I wouldn't met you. I ...
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2answers
535 views

the use of would in the sentence

what is the difference between this two sentences " would you like to be a farmer ?" and "Do you like to be a farmer?" I know would is about specific time but there is no time in the sentence
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1answer
74 views

How to comprehend “The output should be false.”? [closed]

Consider a function in a computer program which returns a boolean value (true or false). The output should be false。 can be interpreted as either of the following two: 1. As we expected, the output ...
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3answers
675 views

Is it Standard American English to ever contract “did” as “-'d”?

Assuming that it is Standard American English to contract would as -'d, is it standard to contract did as -'d? For example: I would really like to have a glass of single malt scotch right now. ...
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1answer
860 views

Can “to be able to” be used without preposition

Can the phrase "to be able to" be used without the preposition "to". For example, can you say "I will call you back as soon as I am able?"
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1answer
106 views

Is 'to' in “would to say” correct?

At a certain point of this article I read; Sometimes [Lucas] would to say to Richard, ‘you can't do that’ It sounds awkward for me to see a modal verb followed by "to". Of course, when you're ...
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1answer
131 views

Imperative + which, should [duplicate]

I'm about to post an ad for our company survey but I'm not sure which of the following (the position of should) is correct. Take the survey on which computer should our company get next. or ...
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3answers
19k views

May you please explain this?

At a family dinner, my 18 year-old niece asked my sister, "May you please pass the salt?" My sister said that she was impressed with her daughter's politeness, but that that particular wording was ...
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7answers
2k views

Confusing structures with modal verbs

I have skimmed through the part on modals of a classic grammar book (Murphy's "Grammar in Use") and picked up all the structures that look strange to me. Could you, please, explain how often they are ...
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1answer
296 views

“Should” in the past?

What is the way to say that something "should be done" in the past? I know there is a "should have" structure, but it is used for situations, when something was to be done in the past, but it wasn't. ...
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1answer
171 views

“…must be running”

I'm trying to understand the meanings of must with a lexical verb in present continuous. Usually "must" means the judgement of the speaker (epistemic modality). Can it have a non-epistemic meaning ...
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6answers
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Are modal verbs finite or non-finite?

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, finite ... 2 Grammar (of a verb form) having a specific tense, number, and person. non-finite ... Grammar (of a verb form) not limited by tense, ...
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2answers
2k views

Dare + have done

Here is an example from an old book. I know it’s old but it can’t be simply discarded, I hope. "I never dare have spoken — never dare have told you that my love for you was killing me" So, I ...
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1answer
220 views

“I may know where it is” vs. “I know where it may be”

I am wondering if the following two sentences have different meanings. I may know where it is. I know where it may be.
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1answer
831 views

Are “could I have been able to cope with” and "could I have coped with” the same?

I am a bit confused with the formation of this sentence. My lines are: What if I were a girl? Would I have been able to cope with the ordeal that women and girls live through every day? But I ...
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4answers
1k views

Is the structure “can have verb-ed” possible?

I have seen and heard sentences like these: He could have gone too far. John can't have eaten all the cake. But I don't seem to encounter this structure: She can have done the work. I ...
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1answer
606 views

Use of “would” in the specific situation

A man asked a question to his friend, “Why was it the best time for Bilal to be in his home?” His friend replied, “It would be the best time for Bilal to be in his home because his uncle ...
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1answer
933 views

“To have to” vs. “should” [closed]

I wonder which one to choose here: My father should drive carefully when it’s raining. My father has to drive carefully when it’s raining.
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0answers
45 views

The verb “should” as a conjunction [duplicate]

Here is the phrase from Wikipedia: CFO Peter Klein has said that Microsoft has no alternate plan should its current mobile strategy fail. Another example: Should Microsoft’s tablet and phone ...
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1answer
669 views

'What may it be'/ 'what may be it' which one is correct? [closed]

I think,saying 'what may it be' is correct in the sense of something that i did not see before,it is new to me and on my hand.and i am saying this sentence "what may it be"/"what may be it".which one ...
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3answers
2k views

What kind of construct is 'would that that were all'?

There is a place in Bram Stoker’s Dracula where I can’t quite parse the grammar: 8 May. — I began to fear as I wrote in this book that I was getting too diffuse. But now I am glad that I went ...
0
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2answers
318 views

“I stay in Canada” vs. “I will stay in Canada” [duplicate]

Situation: I am in Canada and will go back to Hong Kong next week. So, I want to tell my friends that "I will stay in Canada until the 6th of March". Question: I do not know if the word will should ...
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1answer
170 views

counterpart of “Shall I/we …” in written English

See my title. I am looking for a word or expression to replace the way of "Shall I/we ...?" The context is I am asking for permission or suggestion but it is not in conversation. I want to apply such ...
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1answer
327 views

Is “he should be seventeen” correct?

Is the following sentence correct to describe a young man? He should be seventeen. My colleague was absolutely sure it was correct. I disagreed, so we had a bit of an argument. I would agree on ...
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2answers
1k views

could versus be able

Let me start by saying what is written in grammar books on this issue and after that I will put my question. (Take heed that this usage of "could" ONLY refers to the past and ONLY to affirmative ...
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3answers
941 views

Are there other verbs that work like “dare” and “need”? [duplicate]

The verbs dare and need do not require auxiliaries when used in the interrogative; for example, “need I?” is as acceptable as “do I need?” Excluding the auxiliaries themselves (like be, do, have), ...
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3answers
255 views

Saying about many related events in the future

My question relates to these questions : Conditionals in the future Future tense in conditional clauses “If I go..” vs. “If I will go..” referring to the future About two mutually related, future ...